Pet Photography

Pet Photography Project 52, week 28: White Balance for Mood

For week 28 of our pet photography challenge, we are talking about white balance and specifically how we can play with it to create a different mood in our images. This is where being create comes into play and I just don't feel like I am "there" yet with my photography. I spend all of my efforts trying to create a visually correct image and that includes trying to get the white balance correct. White balance in an image is the process of creating correct color balance in a photo so whites are white. Creating correct color balance generally means the neutral tones in the scene are rendered neutral in the photograph, without a color cast. If you take cell phone photos (or photos with a camera for that matter), look at them now and answer this question: do the whites look white? Do they look pink, green, yellow or blue? If they do that's common because getting the white balance correct is hard. I just scrolled through my cell phone pics and I learned 2 things: I don't take very many cell phone photos and when I do, they are either yellow or pink.

color balance

cat in Olivella Spain


There are tools to use in Lightroom and Photoshop to adjust these but as my instructor Nicole Begley of Nicole Begley Photography said at Barkelona, just use a gray card before taking your shots. Then you'll know you have the correct white balance. How many times do I forget to use my gray card..... ?? I won't answer that. :)

So the above photos don't work when I try to adjust the white balance and create a mood so I set out to do that. This is definitely outside of the box for me and outside of my comfort zone. I just don't feel like I have the experience under my belt yet to be super creative with my photography but part of the reason I'm doing these challenges weekly is to step outside the box.

My first dilemma was this: should I keep the camera on auto white balance? Since my subject is a dog, if I adjust the white balance for the entire scene, the dog is going to end up blue, yellow, green or pink and I can't think of a scenario when that works. Below I've used a photo with auto WB and then in Lightroom I adjusted for blue and yellow white balance.

white balance for mood


blue auto white balance

This is a blog circle to next up is Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay area . Keep clicking the link at the end of each post and you'll end up right back here.



Barkelona Day 2, Photo Shoot with Sasha

If you've read my previous posts about my day 2 photo shoots at Barkelona, you've met Taila, Pepa, Teo, Forca and now let me introduce Sasha. Sasha is a 4 month old Samoyed. After this photo session with her, I knew one of my goals when I got home was to try and find a setting similar to this so I could recreate this first photo of her with my dogs and my client's dogs.  I love the dirt path that leads to her and the canopy of trees framing her, and the sun coming through the trees above her. I believe I have found a location in Charlotte to recreate something similar this photo. Unfortunately it isn't super close to where I live (so I am on the hunt for a similar location closer) but I hope to get my dog Moose up to this location soon and once I do, I will post the photos and we can compare them. Eeeeee :)

Back to Sasha.

She was such a great model and if my memory serves me correctly, I believe I told the others in the group at the time, I knew these would be photos I would love. I'm having a difficult time editing this first one.  The setting is beautiful but it is requiring some photoshop trickery and I've not quite mastered it yet.  I'm sure I'll continue to play with this photo... I'm curious to see what I might do to it next time.  Again, if you've read my previous posts you know I was searching to create my style. These are getting closer to it, particularly the 2nd photo.

Samoyed Sasha


Sasha Samoyed puppy

We changed locations and the lighting was gorgeous. In the next set of photos, Sasha was backlit but the setting sun. The photos I took during this time are quite different from the earlier ones of Sasha because of the lighting.  Which do you prefer?


I hope you've enjoyed these photos of Sasha.  We had one more set of dogs we photographed on day 2.  You'll meet Pruna and Boira in my next Barkelona blog post and there were a couple of photos from that session that I stood out to me too. :) Be sure to check back!


Project 52 Week 19: Patterns

This week we are continuing our study of lines and specifically patterns this week. In our workbook, this phrase in particular stood out to me: "The stronger the pattern, the stronger the expectation that the pattern will continue to repeat, and when it doesn't, that contrast has great visual mass and will captivate our attention." When I was in Spain, one of the photographers took several amazing photos of a dog standing in between some stone columns. That visual is exactly what comes to mind when I read about this exercise. I am hoping she will participate this week and use that photo (I may have hinted to her that she needs too!)  It is one of my favorite photos that anyone of us took in Spain. In our workbook for this week, one of the photos used as an example was taken in Africa on a safari. It was a landscape image with antelope and a Land Rover creating a pattern with eye being drawn to the antelope. My take on this week's assignment is similar since I couldn't find any stone columns and a dog that would hold a sit/stay for me. :(

Let me set the stage.

I was pet sitting with this cutie Millie and her canine sister Sadie. Millie was rescued as a puppy from a bad breeding situation and now 5 years later to say her life is better is an understatement. Just look at this yard AND her frequent guests that keep her (and me!) entertained.

I'd grabbed my camera before heading over to her house knowing that I was loosing light quickly. I wish I would've had my long lens but I didn't so I made do with my 24-70. I cranked up my ISO and was at f/8 to try and capture the entire scene in focus. To say Millie is a ball of energy is an understatement. If you sit down or crouch down (to take a photo), you need to know where Millie is because she will be on you in a heartbeat and loves to smother you in as many kisses as she can. She may hold the record for most kisses given in under a minute! I am not kidding!!  In low light at f/8 and a high ISO, if Millie moved at all, she wasn't going to be sharp. In the first image she isn't but I've included it because this was my first indication that something was going on....

This was mine and Millie's view last night. And yes, my view of Millie was pretty much of her hind end the entire time!




boston terrier

This is a blog circle so next up is Northeast PA Pet Photographer, Elaine Tweedy.  Be sure to click the link at the bottom of each post to see each photographer's interpretation on this week's assignment.

Barkelona Day 2: Second Photo Shoot with Forca

I met Forca during our 2nd photo shoot on day 2. After another incredible meal at Casa Felix, we were introduced to 3 more sets of dogs that we would be photographing outdoors, around Casa Felix just before sunset. I can't even describe how beautiful it was around our villa. Some of my favorite photos from my time in Spain were taken during this photo shoot. Because of that, I'm going to walk you through each individual photo shoot.  My group started with Forca. She is a beautiful chocolate lab. This is literally the first photo I took of her.


She is a trained therapy dog and was so calm. Her parents were with her and her mom spoke a little English. You know when you meet certain people and you just like them? That's how I felt about Forca's mom. You could tell she just adored this dog.

As many of you know, I have a chocolate lab named Moose that we rescued 1.5 years ago at the age of 8. Forca made me miss my man Moose although my guy has a much different personality because he wouldn't sit and pose like Forca did for us. She was a great dog and I hated saying goodbye to them.


therapy dog Forcachocolate labrador Forca

I love profile shots of dogs. I have two 20x24 photos of my dogs Willow and Buddy hanging in my bedroom are both are profile shots of them that I had taken by a professional photographer back in 2012 before I'd ever even thought of becoming a photographer myself. I like profile shots when the dogs are captured looking up as Forca is in this one. I can see the love and adoration she has in her eyes as she is staring up at her mom. This is my personal favorite image that I took of Forca. I just love it because I know she is looking at her mom and that look in her eye and the happiness in her face just gets me every time.

Project 52: Week 15: Exploring Color Contrast

This week for our Project 52 challenge, we are exploring color contrast. Just as last week, I like this challenge. I like exploring colors and thinking about colors as I am photographing my subjects and as I'm editing my photos. In doing some additional research on color contrast, I ran across this statement from the site: "Colors don't have to be direct opposites or have a set amount of separation to be considered contrasting or complementary." It also goes on to say, "The more transitional colors separating two colors, the greater the contrast. For example, magenta and orange is not as high contrast a pair as magenta and yellow or magenta and green. Colors that are directly opposite from one another are said to clash — although this clashing or high contrast is not necessarily a bad thing. Some of these high contrast, complementary, clashing colors are quite pleasing." When I initially looked at the challenge, I assumed each color would only have one contrasting color because I thought that contrasting colors had to be exact opposites such as green/magenta or purple/yellow. However I learned that a single color can have several contrasting colors. This is yet another reason why I love doing these weekly challenges. I learn new stuff all the time and it isn't just about my camera and composition.  AND all of this learning once again makes me wish I would've taken up photography earlier in life! :)

The images that I chose don't have the greatest amount of contrast but given the green backgrounds, there is definitely some contrast with the first image having the most since it is a green background and as close as I could get to a magenta dog!

color contrast


color contrast

color contrast

color contrast

Next up in the blog circle is Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Click the link at the bottom of each post and you'll end up right back here.  Be sure to check back next week too as I hope to have some really exciting, out of this world photos to post!!! :) :) :)


Project 52 - week 12 - Deeper Focus

In week 12 of the Project 52 challenge, we are working on creating images with a deeper focus.  In other words, we want all of the image to be sharp, not just the subject or part of the subject.  The assignment said to adjust the aperture to f/10 which I did.  I was trying to keep my ISO as low as possible so the photo wouldn't be so noisy (grainy) which meant that my shutter speed was pretty low.  And what that means is if anything I'm trying to photograph moves, it won't be sharp. I should've adjusted to f/8.  You see, I know this brown dog very well.  This is my guy Moose and to get this photo, I had 2 photography assistants helping me.  He's a great dog but not the easiest to photograph.  His name is Moose and his name fits!  He's a bit of a goofball - high energy and food motivated with a pretty strong prey drive.  He will 'sit' on command but he's not so good at 'stay.' :(

Here is the (long) back story:  Tuesday I'd posted on our facebook page that I was having a problem finding a location to use that had a pretty enough background to keep sharp.  Many times I am in an area where I prefer to blur the background because it is cluttered but this week I'm supposed to keep the entire photo sharp.  I had envisioned going to a Freedom Park which is really pretty (see below.) There I would have a really pleasing background.  However my assistant(s) and I couldn't get our schedules coordinated to make that work.

In trying to come up with plan B, I thought about the blooming bushes in my own front yard.  If I could get Moose in front of them, it'd make for a nice photo.  So Wednesday morning, I had Moose outside when the neighborhood kids (who are my two best assistants) were waiting for their school bus and I asked them to help me.  We had a window of about 15 minutes before the bus would come to try and get a photo that would work.

And this one does, sort of.  All of Moose (and there is a lot of him at 90lbs) is in focus, albeit not as sharp as I would like but the bushes behind him aren't.  If he wasn't sitting so close to the pink bushes, they'd be more in focus but this is where he finally sat down so I snapped away.   Trying to move him forward and getting him to sit again would've been a challenge.  With Moose, you take what you can get!

deeper focus

So, in this photo, Gracyn is standing with the leash camera right.  Kelly is standing near me with treats in her hand.  I'm about 20 yards away from Moose.    Caption this photo: What does the look on Moose's face say?

He's a funny dog - he is either crashed on the couch or he is going ninety to nothing.  My husband says he's a great dog 90% of the time and by that, I think he means when he is sleeping because the dog loves to sleep!

When he is outside and especially when there are treats around, he's pretty excited.  That's why I should've known better than to try and take a photo with these settings.  He wasn't very still and I'm disappointed that this image isn't tack sharp.  Perhaps camera shake is at fault too.  If there is another photo posted of Moose below with deeper focus, you will know I roped the girls into helping me Thursday morning before school too!  They're such good sports.

I did get this photo of some Canadian geese earlier in the week.  It's at f/8 and has the deeper focus the assignment required and below that are photos of Freedom Park from last fall.  Next up in the blog circle is Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Be sure to keep clicking the links at the bottom of each post to see each photographer's take on the Project 52 assignment - creating photos with a deeper focus.

deeper focus

deeper focus

deeper focus